By Carl Cohn
In my 12-plus years as an urban superintendent in California, parents often spent more time talking to me about school safety than about teaching and learning. Perhaps that’s just common-sense recognition that the latter can’t take place without the former.
School suspensions and expulsions are falling at dramatic rates in California – a 20 percent decline in expulsions and a 15 percent decrease in suspensions in the last school year. What should parents and taxpayers make of this seemingly good news that suggests there has been an outbreak of good decorum among students in our state’s public schools? Has someone provided a new vaccine that has inoculated our children against bad behavior?
Without suggesting some mysterious new version of the science fiction classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” let me offer a plausible explanation for what might be going on.